NEW YORK The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $7.1 million to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the University of Utah to support their work developing a new, energy-efficient process for producing iron.
The process sprays iron ore directly into the furnace chamber, and natural gas, hydrogen or syngas are used as a reducing agent, the Energy Department said Tuesday.
Replacement of the energy- and capital-intensive coke oven and blast furnace process steps with the new process could reduce the energy needed to make iron by up to 50 percent.
"While our industrys energy and carbon dioxide reduction achievements (27 percent and 33 percent, respectively) since 1990 are significant, we must continue to invest in high-risk, high-reward research to meet the challenges posed by our international competition and by competing materials," AISI president and chief executive officer Thomas J. Gibson said in a statement.
The project was one of 13 selected out of more than 250 applications. The grant competition was part of the Energy Department Innovative Manufacturing Initiative.
The total budget for the project is $8.9 million over three years, with 80 percent of cost sharing to be provided by the Energy Department and the remainder to be funded by AISI members.